To raise successful kids, we are told to parent like the Chinese. For good discipline and broad palates, experts advise raising babies French-like. Well-educated kids? You'll want them growing up in Finland. And Swedes get credit for all good things child care and gender-equal. Want a happy baby? Then you'll need to study the latest global "it" culture: the Dutch.
Finding Dutchland blogger Rina Mae Acosta revealed secrets that only parents in Holland know, for, as a nation, they're raising some of the happiest kids on the planet. Unsurprisingly, Acosta credits Holland's happy parents for bringing up happy offspring. The Dutch are almost the happiest adults in the world, according to the United Nation’s first World Happiness Report, ranking fourth behind Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.
What makes everything so hunky-dory? High salaries, lots of time off, social support and accessible, high-quality health care. Acosta also points out that Dutch kids are happy because their moms aren't likely to suffer depression. She points to Dutch psychologist and journalist Ellen de Bruin's research concluding that the country's less restrictive laws—about who people can marry, substances they can consume, and forms and content of expression—leave these guys deliriously happy.
Which means so much fun for little kids.
They even get chocolate sprinkles on their morning toast!
The blogger living in Holland also reasons that happiness comes easily to the women of the Netherlands, who are better able to find work-life balance with readily available part-time jobs whether or not there's a child involved. Dads also expect—and are expected to—parent their kids, which is also made easier because THEY can find well-paid part-time work too. And ... AND! ... families receive a monthly allowance for each child. Free money!
Those happy kids don't have the high-stakes pressure of school that American (and Chinese and Japanese) kids are expected to withstand. Parents tend to listen and consider their kids' opinions, not just for cute blog posts but as a way of conducting family life. They even get chocolate sprinkles on their morning toast! You'd have to try hard to be an UNhappy kid in the Netherlands.
Happy Dutch childhood is making me kind of sad for U.S. families. We're ranked No. 17 in terms of happiness, right behind Mexico (but well ahead of Sierra Leone). I mean, think how sad our kids have it: If they went to put chocolate on toast, they'd get screamed at for being so fat. And then told to finish their homework.